Sea World has released incredible vision showing the moment they managed to free an adult Humpback Whale after it became entangled in fishing gear off the Gold Coast.
Rescue crews were first alerted to the whale in trouble after a fisherman spotted the mammal towing a Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) off Coolangatta Beach this morning.
The Sea World and Boating Fisheries team rushed to the scene, about 15 nautical miles from the Seaway, where they worked for around 45 minutes to untangle the device and associated ropes from the whale in a delicate operation.
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Sea World Head of Marine Sciences Wayne Phillips said thankfully the mammal was quite cooperative.
“He was really good to us, he allowed us to get close, so that made it pretty smooth,” Mr Phillips said.
“It was a pretty quick rescue, most of that time was just looking at the whale, assessing the situation, and making sure we made the cuts on the rope in the right order.
“If we cut too early and we lose the big marker boy, then the whale could swim off with the gear still around him.”
It’s the second whale entanglement on the Gold Coast in just two weeks, with the incident sparking calls for the removal of fishing devices and nets from the Gold Coast during the whale migration season.
“We do get a lot of whale who travel up from down south with other rescue gear on them, but this is the first FAD that we have had,” Mr Phillips said.
“Anything that we put in the ocean is potentially dangerous for our migrating humpback whales at this time of the year.
“So it might be something to consider whether those FADs should be removed during the whale migration.
“I’m not sure whether it’s a good idea to have anything out there while the whales are migrating”.
FADs are human-made floating structures anchored offshore to attract fish.